Pradyumna: Translation: "I have the very same Gāṇḍīva bow, the same arrows, the same chariot drawn by the same horses, and I use them as the same Arjuna to whom all the kings offered their due respects. But in the absence of Lord Kṛṣṇa, all of them, at a moment's notice, have become null and void. It is exactly like offering clarified butter on ashes, accumulating money with a magic wand or sowing seeds on barren land." SB 1.15.21
Prabhupāda: Very important verse, hm? Tad abhūd asad īśa-riktam. Everything will be null and void when there is no God. That's all. The modern civilization has got everything, but without God consciousness, any moment it will be finished. And there are symptoms... Any moment. At the present moment, this godless civilization, as soon as there is declaration of war, the America is prepared to drop atom bomb, Russia is... The first nation who will drop the atom bomb, he will be victorious. Nobody will be victorious, because both of them are ready to drop. The America will be finished and Russia will be finished. That is the position. So you may make advancement of civilization, scientific improvement, economic development, but if it is godless, at any moment it will be finished. At any moment.
Just like Rāvaṇa. Rāvaṇa, Hiraṇyakaśipu, they were demons, godless demons. Rāvaṇa was very learned scholar in Vedic knowledge and very powerful materially. He converted his capital with gold, all the buildings and everything. It is supposed that Rāvaṇa's brother was a king of..., on the other side of the globe. So it is my suggestion... I do not say it is very scientific proof. So other side of the globe... Rāvaṇa was in Ceylon, and the other side of the globe, if you go by subway, it comes to Brazil. And Brazil is supposed to have gold mines. And it is said in the Rāmāyaṇa that Rāvaṇa's brother was living on the other side of the globe, and Rāmacandra was taken through the subway. So taking this into consideration, we can suppose that Rāvaṇa imported large quantity of gold from Brazil, and he converted them into big, big houses. So Rāvaṇa was so powerful that he made his capital Svarṇa-laṅkā, "capital made of gold." Just like if a man comes from undeveloped country to your country, New York or any city, when they see the big, big skyscraper, they become astonished. Although skyscraper buildings are everywhere nowadays, formerly it was very wonderful.
So we can create everything very wonderful, but we can take the example of Rāvaṇa. Rāvaṇa was very advanced materially, and he had Vedic knowledge sufficiently. He was son of a brāhmaṇa. Everything was there. But the only fault was that he did not care for Rāma. That is the only fault. "Oh, what is Rāma? I don't care for Him. There is no need of performing yajñas and ritualistic ceremony to be promoted to the heavenly kingdom." Rāvaṇa said, "I shall construct a staircase to go to the moon planet. Why you are trying in this way or that way? I will do that." Svargesari. (?) So these people are trying like Rāvaṇa, but they should take lesson from Rāvaṇa that his godlessness made him doomed. Everything he lost.
So this instruction by Arjuna... He said that so 'haṁ dhanus ta iṣavaḥ. He was defeated by the cowherdsmen. He could not protect the queens of Kṛṣṇa, and they were taken away by these cowherdsmen. So he is lamenting that "I have got this bow and arrow with which I fought in the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra, and I became victorious because Kṛṣṇa was sitting on my chariot. That is the only reason. Now I have got these bows and arrows, the same bows and arrows with which I fought in the Battle of Kurukṣetra, but at the present moment there is no Kṛṣṇa. Therefore it is useless." Īśa-rikta, asad abhūt. Asat means which does not act; it does not exist. "So my bows and arrows are the same, but it is now useless." We should take this lesson that without God, without spirit, this material, I mean to say, gorgeousness has no value.